Southeast Conference News by the Numbers, Week 3
Published Jun 1, 2023
Written By:  Cassidy Hettesheimer | WPSL Correspondent


Three games across three days for the third weekend of Southeast Conference play. Nashville found its rhythm on Friday, a Chattanooga veteran bagged a hat trick on Saturday, and Georgia Impact secured its first WPSL win on Sunday.

Across conference play, two numbers popped up again and again: one and three, or first and third. Let’s break down the Southeast Conference play using these two numbers.



Two firsts— and a defending champ back to its winning ways: After drawing against Chattanooga FC in its season opener, Nashville snagged its first win of 2023 in a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Georgia Impact. 

“It was something we spoke about after last week,” Scott Davidson, Nashville Rhythm F.C. head coach, said about the team giving up two goals to Chattanooga in the final ten minutes of last week’s game. “I think [this week] we were more focused on taking care of some smaller details and making sure we finished the game strong. The girls defended fantastic. Fantastic blocks, keeper made some good saves, midfield tracked back, pressed from the front— overall, fantastic defense performance.” 

The game was also a first for the Impact— its first home game in team history, for which midfielder Alex Collinghan earned the team’s Player of the Match recognition.

“It was great to see us competing against the best, and for us to walk away frustrated not to get something from the game shows where we are at, which is exciting,” Robert Roddie, Impact head coach, said.

Both side’s keepers, Charlee Bernal (Impact) and Zoe Clevely (Nashville), came up big to hold the game close— Bernal with a tough double save in the first half to keep the match scoreless, and Clevely seeing out the game’s final minutes as the Impact pressured with two close-range free kicks in extra time.


A third— and creativity: Nashville’s Yuki Watari scored her third goal of the season in the second half of the Rhythm’s win. The 2022 All-Conference midfielder has scored all three of Nashville’s goals so far this season. Last year, Watari had six goals and six assists for the Rhythm. 

“This year, we are more creative,” Watari said. “We like to combine. We know each other, how to play.”

And, still, Davidson said that more key players will join the Rhythm in the upcoming weeks, adding more depth and creativity to the team’s gameday roster.

A three— and a strong start for Chattanooga: Chattanooga FC midfielder Summer Hernandez pleased the home crowd with a hat trick in CFC’s 7-0 win over FC Birmingham on Saturday. 

Hernandez scored two goals inside the first 14 minutes of the game then added a third with a driven shot in the 50th minute.

“As a forward, you always want the third,” Hernandez said after the game, according to CFC. “If it happens it happens. You’re happy with two, too.”

Hernandez is a longtime member of the Chattanooga soccer community, having played with CFC for its first five WPSL seasons, from 2013-2018, before making her return to the roster this season, alongside her sister, Anna Lanter.

Krysan St. Louis scored her second goal of the season in CFC’s win. Ava Vandoren, Kedie Johnson and Ava Vandoren also found the back of the net.

“We talked about the speed of play today, because we ended the match on such a high note last week [with a two-goal comeback to draw against Nashville], and we had some good days of training this week,” Randy Douglas, Chattanooga FC head coach, said. “[We thought],’ We have another home game, and we need to take advantage of it.’”


Another first— in the Impact’s third game: On the road, Georgia Impact picked up its first-ever WPSL win with a 4-0 victory over Soda City FC. 

The 0-0 stalemate snapped in the second half with Farah Tayeh scoring a brace and Kennedy Crowder and Brooke Shank coming off the bench to add to the Impact’s total.

“We were missing a lot of influential players over the holiday weekend, but we knew we had a lot of quality still traveling,” Roddie said. “The girls did well controlling possession; however, chances were limited with Soda City doing very well to commit to challenges and block shots. It took a penalty to break the deadlock, and then the goals started coming.”

The win was also the Impact’s first shutout— a key mark for a strong defense led by center back duo Santana Presley and Ellie Russell in the match against Soda City. The Impact conceded just two total goals in its first two matches of the season, both against top-scoring teams from 2022.

“We knew welcoming nationally-ranked Nashville to our home opener and then to travel to South Carolina two days later was never going to be an easy few days. The girls responded fantastically, though,” Roddie said. 

Looking ahead: The Charlotte Eagles remain on top of the Southeast Conference table with six points in two games. Chattanooga, Women’s Football Club of Charlotte, Georgia Impact, and Nashville all have four points— all having played two games except for the Impact, which has played three. 

This weekend, two Southeast Conference teams will play host for their first games of the season with 865 Alliance welcoming Chattanooga FC to Knoxville on Friday then Atlanta Fire hosting Chattanooga on Sunday— a busy road trip weekend for CFC. 

Charlotte’s teams— the Eagles and WFCC— are both back in action after a week off. The Eagles welcome 865 Alliance to Charlotte on Saturday, and WFCC travels to face Soda City FC the same day. 

Georgia Impact will look to start a win streak, matching up at home against FC Birmingham on Saturday.